As the Senate Intelligence Committee nears the end of its years-long investigation into whether the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia, NBC News reported Tuesday that after interviewing over 200 witnesses from multiple countries and reviewing over 300,000 documents, the committee has “uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.”
The Senate’s findings are consistent with its House Intelligence Committee counterpart, whose members announced last year that they too found no evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Undeterred by these bicameral and bipartisan findings, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff and other House Democrats are planning to aggressively expand their probe of the president in an investigation that is sure to, according to Axios, “include multiple committees and dramatic public hearings, and could last into 2020.”
Before the Chairman commits to such a partisan agenda, this is an appropriate time to discuss a recently-surfaced issue involving Chairman Schiff and a witness of an open congressional investigation.
Chairman Schiff stated in March of 2017, he had evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and that his “evidence” was more than circumstantial but not quite direct. To date Chairman Schiff has produced no evidence to support that claim.
In addition, The Hill reported last week on a meeting between Chairman Schiff and Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson in July of 2018 at the Aspen Security Forum.
Recall that Mr. Simpson has been one of the most controversial subjects in the Russian collusion investigation and was a key witness in the House’s probe. In fact, Mr. Simpson appeared and gave sworn testimony before Chairman Schiff and the rest of HPSCI in November 2017 on the subject of how FBI and Justice Department officials handled the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
In addition, Chairman Schiff and House Democrats went to great lengths to keep investigators from finding out Fusion GPS was hired by a law firm at the direction of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Investigators ultimately had to go to court to secure access to who was behind the still unvetted Steele Dossier. Chairman Schiff obstructed and opposed efforts to identify the funding behind the salacious, still unverified report.
During Mr. Simpson’s testimony before the House, Chairman Schiff even sought direction from Mr. Simpson on where the investigation should go. This is virtually unprecedented: that a now Chairman of an investigative committee would seek direction from a fatally biased witness who was actually paid by political opponents to uncover dirt on the President.
At the time of Chairman Schiff’s conversation with Mr. Simpson in Aspen, the Committee had already decided to take a closer look at Mr. Simpson’s 2017 testimony after subsequent revelations drew doubt on its credibility.
This highlights questions about Chairman Schiff’s interactions and is incredibly provoking.
Recall again that less than two years ago, Chairman Schiff called for then-Chairman Devin Nunes to be investigated for holding undisclosed meetings with White House officials and later demanded Nunes recuse himself from the investigation, saying he could no longer objectively oversee the case.
Also, recall then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions being forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after he failed to disclose a meeting he had with a Russian diplomat during the campaign.
The American people would be well-served if Chairman Schiff answered a few questions on the interaction before the committee moves forward with their investigations, to ensure that these investigations are pursued in a fair manner:
- Along with this Aspen Security Forum meeting, how many other meetings did Chairman Schiff have with Mr. Simpson over the past three years?
- What did Chairman Schiff and Mr. Simpson discuss at the Aspen Security Forum meeting, along with any other meetings?
- Why did Chairman Schiff go to such great lengths, including supporting Chuck Schumer’s former staffer who was representing Mr. Simpson – even going to court – to keep secret who was behind paying for the political attack piece on then candidate Trump?
- Why did Chairman Schiff seek investigatory guidance and suggestions from Mr. Simpson, a witness whose credibility has been called into question but whose bias is unmistakably anti-Trump?
- If Chairman Schiff is really interested in who provided false or misleading testimony to Congress, why not start with Mr. Simpson?
- Given Chairman Schiff’s previous underlying rationale when calling for others to recuse themselves from Russia-related investigations, in order to avoid charges of hypocrisy or perceived bias, should Chairman Schiff recuse himself from his intended investigations after meeting with a witness of an ongoing investigation?